With the release of The Dark Knight Rises coming up on Friday, anticipation for Christopher Nolan's final Batman film has reached a fever pitch. Still, I don't think anyone expected the media hype to get to the level of ridiculousness it managed to achieve this week, when political commentator Rush Limbaugh claimed that the character of Bane was included in the film as part of a vast media conspiracy against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's association with investment firm Bain Capital.

The jury's still out on whether Limbaugh actually believes this or if he's participating in some incredible trolling, but either way it comes as news to Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, who apparently orchestrated a Democratic conspiracy almost 20 years ahead of the election when they co-created Bane with Doug Moench in 1993 -- especially since they're two of comics' most prominent conservatives.Limbaugh, a prominent right-wing radio show host/complete lunatic who once claimed that Michael J. Fox was exaggerating his Parkinson's Disease symptoms for political ends, unleashes his latest conspiracy theory as Romney's tenure as co-founder of investment firm Bain Capital comes under intense media scrutiny, a consequence of the fact that Romney is campaigning for President of the United States. Rather than making the logical connection that Romney, T. Coleman Andrews III, and Eric Kriss exercised very poor judgment in naming their company after a homonym of a word that means "a cause of great distress or annoyance," Limbaugh alleges that Bane's appearance in Christopher Nolan's film is deliberately designed to cause extremely stupid voters to think that Romney spent 15 years working alongside an actual imaginary super-villain to fight Batman:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Have you heard, this new movie, the Batman movie -- what is it, the Dark Knight Lights Up or something? Whatever the name of it is. That's right, Dark Knight Rises, Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date's been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?


LIMBAUGH: Anyway, so this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there's now discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful, and whether or not it will influence voters. It's going to have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is going to be huge, lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd. And they're going to hear "Bane" in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie --"Oh yeah, I know who that is." There are some people who think it will work. There are some people think it will work. Others think -- "You're really underestimating the American people who think that will work." [MediaMatters]

Also hilarious: The fact that Limbaugh apparently thinks that "rises" and "lights up" mean the same thing.

The entire sequence of events as laid out by Limbaugh is, to put it charitably, unlikely, and for one simple reason: Bane was not created for The Dark Knight Rises. After his initial appearance in 1993's Vengeance of Bane one-shot (collected in Batman Versus Bane), Bane became one of the more prominent Batman villains in 1994's Knightfall, a story that was largely free of political commentary outside of "maybe we shouldn't put babies in prison for the crimes of their fathers."

However, even if the creation of Bane was motivated by a comparison to Bain Capital (which had been founded ten years erlier) so that the character could influence voters two decades into the future, Dixon and Nolan aren't exactly prime suspects for such a scheme,

Via Bleeding Cool, Dixon's response:

I saw it on FB like two hours ago.


Tho' I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that Rush may pick up on this.

And that would be the second time he pegged me and Graham as liberals on his show.


Bane was created by me and Graham Nolan and we are lifelong conservatives and as far from left-wing mouthpieces as you are likely to find in comics.

Really, though, even if Bane's line about giving Batman "permission to die" was in fact a coded reference to "Obamacare" or "Death Panels" or whatever, one wonders what exactly Limbaugh hopes to gain with this allegation. I imagine that even die-hard conservatives would have a hard time supporting someone who was running against Batman, especially given Bruce Wayne's status as a proven job-creator whose investments in the grappling hook and bulletproof cape industries have provided strong growth even during a recession.

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